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Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

Cairo, Egypt
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Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

Hi

Planning a 6 night beach vacation with my husband in southern France. We will be arriving at either Nice or Marseille airport. Looking for a good public beach with simple services for the day and an old town or nice area to hang around and explore by foot at night.

I learned that the beaches of Nice are all stones and pebbles. Are the beaches of Marseille any better?

I came across Villefranche which seems really nice and close but I do not know if its good a good choice for the whole trip or just a day trip.

Also im learning now that Montpellier has sandy beaches rather than the cliffs and stones of the cote d'azur.

any advice is appreciated, im so confused.

Louisville, Kentucky
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1. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

I'm a fan of the cote d'Azur and mot so much on Marseille, but others feel just as strongly the other way. Hopefully, you will get responses from them.

I see a base as where you want to start and end your day and Villefranche would be one of my favorites, but this is a town where location matters. The beach and harbor areas are flat, but the town rises from that point in a steep incline. This map will give you an idea of how this works, and if you zoom in to the town, you will see the stairways that link the levels:

villefranche-sur-mer.org/pages/plan/planvill…

You can move the map around so you can see how close you will be to St. Jean/Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu sur Mer. These areas are connected to VF by a stairway that you will see at the end of the VF beach, and the walk to the second and largest harbor in Beaulieu takes 30-45 minutes depending upon how in tenet you are in getting there quickly. From Beaulieu you can catch the 83 direct to Eze Village, and there is a promenade on to Cap Ferrat that's on the Beaulieu side of the peninsula. In other words, this is a lovely place to stay!

As for a place to stay, my recommendation is to stay as close to the waterfront as you can...the inclines are steep and the trek is not something everyone wants to take on. There are two hotels in this part of the town, the Welcome and the Darse, and they are small and very popular. If this interests you, make reservations as soon as possible. Internet bookings aren't usually available until 90-120 days before a travel date, and if your travel date falls outside this parameter, I'd call the hotels. It's been my experience at the Welcome that I can book further our when I talk to them directly:

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187246-d219899…

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187246-d259712…

With the length of your trip, an apartment rental would be another good option:

tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g187246-Revi…

http://www.homeaway.com/search/keywords:Villefranche-sur-Mer%2C+France

To check on the location of an apartment, do a Google maps "Walking Directions" search from the address to the say, the Hotel Welcome or the Darse. That will get you into the harbor area. The train station is further down towards the beach and it's elevated, so it's probably not the best destination for a search if restaurants and shops are important to you.

From your post, I think you might also enjoy Antibes. Here is a link to a thread from today where some hotels in Antibes are discussed, and IMO, W. B. Loud-Glade's reply would be a good place to start your consideration of Antibes as a base:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187217-i926-k6699…

Hope this gets you started!

Edited: 24 July 2013, 17:45
Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

Here's a link that may give you a perspective on the Cote d'Azur beaches. The natural character is "pebbly," but there are some beaches where sand is brought in for a soft surface. Look towards Cannes, Antibes/Juan les Pins, Villefranche and Cap Ferrat for those:

riviera-beaches.com/index.html#.Ue2HuNL1ef8

Cairo, Egypt
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3. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

Troggs, thank u so much for the effort!

I think we're settling with Nice because its the most convenient for us.

We're considering staying at Mercure, Massena square. It is supposedly on the promenade, but the far right end though. Do u think staying on the promenade is a good idea? I thought being closest to the beach would be best since we will be spending every morning on the beach. Also I know that it is a good walk at night; but is it a walking distance to the old town too? I am trying to figure out the nightly whereabouts. Any tips would be great, like the ease of access to other areas through public transportation for instance.

Many thanks again

Louisville, Kentucky
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4. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

I would start over with this question as a new topic. I'm a "day tripper" to Nice, and with a new posting, I think you will get better advice about your location and how it might work for an evening walk. FWIW, I've walked a long way along the promenade (long story!) and I'd be comfortable, but see what others have to say. For your distance, I would do a Google Map "Walking Directions" search from the hotel's address to "Cours Saleya," and see if that works for you.

California
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5. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

The Mercure hotel that's actually on the Promenade des Anglais is the Mercure Promenade des Anglais (duh!).That's where we stay in Nice if we don't rent an apartment, and the hotel is very conveniently located: right across from the beach (get a sea-view room, as they are large), 2 blocks from the pedestrian rue Masséna and the Place Masséna, and a 10-minute walk to Vieux Nice. The Place Masséna itself is a block or two away from the beach.

Louisville, Kentucky
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6. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

Well, you couldn't get a better answer than that!

Finland
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7. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

I suggest you settle at e.g. the more authentic and a bit rugged smaller town of La Ciotat and hire a car for e.g. 3 days in order to be able to explore the resorts and medieval towns east up to Six Fours/La Seyne/St Mandrier, not forgetting Cassis in the west, with a road Route des Cretes over the coastal hills. Stay away from Nice area, much nicer and more authentic South of France resorts are available closer to Marseille. Very nice places to eat at La Ciotat, see here at TA. Nice is more of a city vacation with a beach option. Marseile Airport is easy and simple, car hire available right at the door etc.

8. Re: Beach holiday near Nice or Marseille

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